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Photo Credit: Jeff Curry - USA Today Sports

WWYDW: What would you look to add before the trade deadline?

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Another day out here in Leafs Nation, and it’s another quote from Mike Babcock that we’re left wondering what he’s talking about.

At this morning’s practice, Babcock pushed this quote out to the media:

The contract is eight years long, but we really wonder if Mike Babcock will ever bite on giving us a piece of insider info. He’s batting 1.000 so far on keeping his lips tight and always leaving us wondering what will happen next.

It’s pretty clear at this point that he’s got at least some sort of say in roster construction, even if he’s not the one in the backroom pulling the strings.

The Leafs are currently sitting third in the Atlantic Division and line up as underdogs in any likely playoff matchup. However, Babcock’s quotes seem to suggest the team is looking to improve, rather than sell assets (like JVR) for a future player/prospect.

So what would you add? Is adding the right move? Would you prefer the Leafs look to optimize their lineup internally, with options like Kasperi Kapanen and Travis Dermott? Will Matt Martin ever play again?

Leaf your comments below.

  • Wawman93

    Gotta stick with the plan. They aren’t going to make it past the first round no matter whom they acquire at the deadline. Trade Polak, Moore, JVR and one or both of Bozak or Komarov for picks and play Leivo, Kapanen and Martin and any Marlies they want to fill in. They can take JVR back in the summer if he really wants to stay in TO long-term. In the meantime, they’ll be faster, make more mistakes and entertain the hell out of Leaf’s Nation, winning more than a few games along the way. The only trade I would make would be for a RHD shot suppressor like Chris Tanev, and only for a couple of draft picks, a secondary defender like Carrick and a couple of prospects. Call me greedy, but I like what we have in development and Babcock needs to see more of them at the NHL level. And come next year, they’ll have a ton of picks and prospects if any top tier D men come available.

  • GLG

    Being a seller at the deadline makes lots os sense. Sell high…
    I hope they keep JVR, ideally signing him to a 3yr $8 million dollar per deal next season. Its a gamble but if the Leafs are going to make a playoff run JVR is part of a winning formula. Moore is a good 4th line centre but not strong enough to move up to 3rd line. If Leafs are buyers and I hope not, they need a complete player type 3rd line centre. Could leafs package a deal for a Ryan O’Reilly? On the sell front, Komarov has the most value. I think he can be replaced if dealt. Leivo’s request should be met. He’s dropping down the Leaf depth chart and his spot in the 50 contracts has enough value to let him go for a 2nd or 3rd round pick. I’d hate to see Kapanen go. Polak, Martin and Soshnikov are all expendable.

  • magesticRAGE

    I would look to trade Moore, Polak, Soshnikov, 2018 2nd rounder, 2019 2nd rounder; to the Rangers for J.T Miller.
    Then I would move Bozak to San Jose for a 2019 2nd rounder.

    These moves would free up SPC slots, upgrade on Bozak, and moving out 2 roster players would allow space for Leivo to slot in. Trading Moore would be with moving Komarov to center in mind. Trading Polak is a safe Babs from himself move, but grabbing Miller should make him happy.
    Hyman-Matthews-Nylander
    Marleau-Kadri-Marner
    JVR-Miller-Brown
    Leivo-Komarov-Kapanen

    Rielly-Hainsey
    Gardiner-Zaitsev
    Dermott-Carrick/Holl

  • leafdreamer

    Komarov is a natural center. Kapanen is a natural right winger. Martin is a left winger. That’s your killer 4th line if you want one. Against softer teams, you can play Leivo instead of Martin. Dominic Moore and Freddy Goat are there as depth options at centre if someone gets hurt. Makes sense? Not to Babcock. Not to Babcock who would rather play Goat, Dom Moore and Komarov (all centers) than let Leivo or Martin play their natural wing positions. Take a look at his World Cup of Hockey roster if you don’t believe me – all centers except two (Brad Marchand and the late addition Corey Perry because Jeff Carter got injured). His golden Olympic teams featured 6/14 wingers in Sochi and 5/13 in Vancouver. The guys that made it as wingers were usually there as complements to their centers (Marchand to Bergeron, Sharp to Toews, Kunitz to Crosby). Babs prefers to keep at least double the required amount of centres on his roster.

    Nylander, Marner, Marleau and Hyman can all play center. We do not lack centers. If anything, we have centers to spare. What we lack is a forward corps made up exclusively of centers to make Babcock happy. Which is another way of saying we need a 4th line center at the trade deadline and we’re willing to trade our few non-centre forwards to get him (Leivo, Martin, Soshnikov and/or a bunch of other little wingers we have in the minors). He will not be satisfied until all our forwards are centres. So there’s that.

    What of the defence? Are Lou and Babs happy to wait for our young defencemen to mature? The way I see it (and I really don’t think Lou or too many other reasonable people would argue with this) we really could use a dominant right-shooting top-pairing defenceman. Those are really hard to get, however, and are usually not available at the trade deadline and if they are it’s an arm and a leg that teams looking to win now can’t afford to part with. We could probably land Werenski or Seth Jones or Subban or whatever but it would take Matthews which would defeat the purpose of trading for them if the objective is to win this year. So, yeah, like, no.

    Overall, I don’t think Lou (albeit getting up there in age and in the last year of his contract) is in a rush to win now at all cost. He won’t (be allowed to) mortgage the future for the now. But he won’t throw away the season either by trading away our 30-goal scorer or his centre. So, again, barring equivalent talent and value coming back (which would defeat the purpose of the trade), I don’t see us losing Bozak and JVR. Komarov and Polak are also worth a lot more to us on the ice than a late 1st (for both if we’re very lucky) or second/s or worse that they could fetch. There’s just no way Lou will jeopardize Matthews’s post-season success for not top-notch picks.

    I think it will be much like last year – maybe we’ll get a big 4th line center and another depth defenceman at most for late- round picks or grade-B prospects. Lou will look to slightly improve the roster and give us a better chance to compete in the playoffs if he can do it without risking losing anyone contributing on the roster or a young player/prospect that could turn out to be really good unless he can get us, literally, a Karlsson or a Doughty with a year left on their contracts in which case we may have to bid farewell to our high pics in the near future and may just end up finding out which one of Rielly, Gardiner, Dermott, Liljegren, Marner or Nylander our management team is not as high on as we thought.

    (I don’t think the intra-divisional JVR and Bozak for Letang plus whatever Edmonton or Ottawa want for Letestu/Pageau deal goes down – there’s too much potential for drama and careers to be destroyed if we meet in the playoffs. But wouldn’t it be fun and isn’t it a trade that actually makes most sense? – Not really because Babs isn’t giving up scorers and centres for a veteran that has a 50% or higher chance of getting hurt before the playoffs begin.)

    The good news is we have all those pics and young players/prospects to play with in case an unicorn of the ilk of those two becomes available. Most teams don’t or they don’t have enough to not completely destroy their chances of winning in the short-term if they pull a trigger on a trade like that. Most likely, however, this is a summertime kind of trade. Most likely, we’re going into playoffs as is, with a deeper and more experienced, but nonetheless much the same roster as last year’s.

    In other words, move right along, nothing to see here. It’s year 3 of the rebuilt whereby your beloved buds will again make the playoffs and look to improve on the last year’s finish by giving someone like Tampa BayLightening a run for their money in the second round and exit gracefully stage left.

  • Capt.Jay

    My gut tells me Lou does nothing substantial. A few mid round picks here and there for maybe a depth player, or visa versa. I see this being a very boring deadline which is fine. I may be wrong, just a feeling I have.

    I do wish we’d package up a prospect on the Marlies plus one of our forwards in Martin/Komorov/Leivo and a D man in Carrick or Borgman for another legit top 4 guy. Not sure who needs those guys though.

    I think Kap and Dermott have given us options but I’d hate to see JVR, Bozak or Komorov walk for nothing. Only Lou knows what the feeling is from their agents and if they want too much they should be traded. If he doesn’t know then shame on him.